Cheerleading Cheers: Step-by-Step

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Creating and teaching cheerleading cheers requires an organized approach, practice space, dedication and patience. All-star teams must exhibit precision and a heightened skill level to win at cheerleading competitions. School sports cheerleaders must memorize and execute nearly 100 cheers to perform throughout a season. The age of the cheerleaders dictates the amount of time it will take to learn cheers and routines. Teaching jumps and tumbling are important aspects to consider when coaching cheerleaders.

Preparation

  • Before teaching new cheer routines to cheerleaders, the adviser should evaluate the skill level of the overall team. The amount of time it will take for the least-skilled cheerleader on the team to learn a new cheer should be considered when organizing a practice plan. Have the individual cheerleaders, or team as a whole, hit standard cheer motions to gauge the skill level and sharp motions of the cheerleaders.

Standard Motions

  • Typical cheer motions include the high "V," low "V," daggers, blades, crisp claps, "I," angled "V," bow and arrow, punch, right or left "L," diagonals, high and low touchdowns and right or left "K," as well as full and half "T" movement. Nearly all cheers are comprised of these motions, with jumps and tumbling added for halftime or performance cheers. Standard jumps used during cheers include toe-touches, and right and left herkeys.

Practice Time

  • Youth cheerleaders can typically learn two new sideline cheers or one longer performance-style cheer during one practice. Middle and high school cheerleaders typically master three or four new sideline cheers per practice session. Intricate and lengthy competition and halftime performance cheers at the high school or all-star level commonly take multiple practice sessions to master.

Demonstration

  • When introducing a new cheer, the adviser or accomplished cheerleader should demonstrate the cheer in slow motion. The cheer team will need to view the cheer from both behind and in front of the instructor to learn proper hand and body placement. When teaching a new cheer, it is important for cheerleaders to learn the proper wording. Cheers should be spoken as clearly and sharply as the cheer motions, and not conducted in a "sing-song" manner.

Cheer Video

  • Taping a video of the team after practicing the cheer several times allows participants to see exactly how they look while performing. A video of the instructor performing cheers should be made available to all of the girls for further practice. This is extremely important when learning performance cheer routines and dances.

Time Constraints

  • Sideline cheers are typically shorter than performance cheers. When preparing a cheer routine for a halftime show, time-outs, or a competitive performance, pay close attention to the time it takes to walk onto the performance area and complete the cheer when creating new routines.

Cheer List

  • Typing a cheer list for each cheerleader to use for at home practice and during athletic events helps the team remember how to start all of the cheers.

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